Some significant and used methods for the Just in time approach

In the manufacturing field, there are different methodologies and techniques to simplify and improve processes. As we have seen in other articles, concepts like lean manufacturing, Kaizen or Six Sigma are letting companies increase their productivity and be more competitive. Another significant concept for this is the Just in time thinking. Through this approach, organizations can be more organized, reducing production costs and removing unnecessary activities within a specific process.

In the Just in time system, different methods and techniques coexist to make this philosophy more useful for organizations. Before we learning about these mechanisms, let’s see a brief definition of the Just in time thinking and its utility in today’s organizations.

The Just in Time approach

Basically, this concept refers to all those activities implemented for improving the production processes in organizations, making them more efficient and productive. Under this method, organizations can manufacture just what they need, in the right moment and in the right way. In other words, the Just in time system could be defined as the way for producing what the customers need, in the right time and with the desired quantity.

Like other improving manufacturing concepts, the Just in time philosophy has its origins in Japan, more specifically in Toyota. This approach was developed with the main purpose of removing all those functions and activities that were considered waste, which could be defined as those elements that are unnecessary and do not add value to the process they are part of. Put differently, the Just in time thinking was created for enhance the efficiency and productivity in organizations, eliminating all those tasks that are not essential for the manufacturing procedures.

For the implementation of the Just in time system, there have created multiple methods. In this article, we will talk about some of the most used ones. In addition, it is important to say, that some of these techniques are used for other production improvement methodologies, which are very related with the Just in time thinking.


Day by day, organizations must adapt their processes and procedures to the constant changes that our world has. For achieving this, they have to plan and act with versatility and multitasking resources. If organizations can make that their resources do more than one work, they will be increasing their productivity, becoming in more competitive companies.

Applying the flexibility concept within the Just in time context, organizations not only find an excellent alternative to be more productive but also the way to reduce their production costs. Through this method, companies can find the correct workers to function in the best way, can organize better working spaces, reduce waiting times, automatize procedures, among other activities that make cheaper to manufacture a particular product or service.

Production_just in time_logistics
Image courtesy of Geoff Llerena at

The pull system

Through this method, the production processes can ensure in the correct way what they need to function because they are demanding just what they need, at the right moment and precise amounts. In the pull system, the workers of a particular process take what they require from the previous process from the manufacturing chain, working with what they demand. When this happens, the process that supplied the other can start to manufacture and produce the components and elements that were given.

It is important to highlight, that when the produced components are not given to other processes in the manufacturing chain, this process stops its activities, so they are not having excess production, making it a more efficient process and avoiding over costs.

Zero defects

In the Just in time thinking, defects or errors are not tolerated because they mean over costs and reprocessing. Under this thinking, companies must be sure that they can work and manufacture their elements without defects.

In addition, when companies have defects processes, are presented waiting times, due to the reprocessing activities to be done, which goes against the Just in time philosophy. In other words, errors mean more time, and more time means that consumers and customers will not have what they require in the moment they need and with the quality they desire.

The Total Productive Maintenance

As we have seen in other posts, all these manufacturing improving approaches are characterized for involving every employee in the organization, from the CEO to the last operative worker. With the Total Productive Maintenance, organizations involve every worker in the company must be part of the machinery maintenance, so they can contribute and ensure their functioning.

Besides, if organizations involve their workers in the maintenance tasks, the production devices and components could have better delivery times and can be ready for the manufacturing activities in lesser time. In other words, when the responsible and members of a particular process are part of the working components maintenance, they can ensure the best performance of them and the desired quality for their customer’s needs.

Related: The different phases for Kaizen implementation by David Kiger

* Featured Image courtesy of Department for Business, Innovation and Skills at


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